Monday, August 17, 2009

The levees FAILED

John McQuaid discusses certain errors made in the
review of the novel Zeitoun, (a nonfiction story of one family’s experience of Hurricane Katrina) by NYT book critic Timothy Eagan. One such mistake is that the levees were overtopped. WRONG.


The responsibility for most of the damage to New Orleans and the awful events immediately following the storm lies with the Corps – that is, the federal government. This is not in dispute; three distinct investigations have laid the blame on the Corps, including the Corps’s own study. In any assessment of what happened – scientific, political, historical – this is crux of what went wrong, a terrible failure American know-how whose broader implications are alarming and remain mostly unexamined. New Orleanians and Louisiana politicians and media types do their best to remind the powers that be of these scandalous facts.

5 comments:

MAD said...

Actually, my understanding is that the levee systems in St. Bernard Parish and in East New Orleans were overtopped, though none were topped west of the Industrial Canal.

judyb said...

I should have been more clear. The levees failed in NOLA.

Actually, this link to an animation of Katrina's inundation says that the flood walls succumbed to the waters in the 9th Ward and St. Bernard. Check it out.

here's the link

New Orleans Ladder said...

The Levees failed in St.Bernard because they were made with Bad Soil dredged from the MR-GO (which contributed greatly to vaunted storm surge which funneled down the Intercoastal Waterway to make the Industrial Canal fail at HALF LOAD) by the Corps of Engineers, as were the other failed levees beneath the flood walls in New Orleans. They got the Bad Soil from the Corps of Engineers.
The Corps is responsible for at least 80% of the flooding of New Orleans due to PREVENTABLE ENGINEERING MISTAKES according to the ILIT --which, incidentally, is heavily referenced in a piece of Spin'filtration posted here: http://noitsjustme.blogspot.com/2009/08/first-step-to-recovery.html
And unbelievably reinforced by the same nolablogger after Editilla jumped his ass here: http://noitsjustme.blogspot.com/2009/08/first-step-to-recovery-is-still.html
This is getting to be like arguing with Holocaust Deniers.

Thank you,
Editilla~New Orleans Ladder

Editilla said...

Sorry to add-on here, but this is a problem within the nolablogger community and perhaps y'all could ask Harry Shearer when he gets to the Rising Tide.
http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/07/29/what_makes_a_natural_disaster_worse_when_its_man-m/
As anyone who has followed the Ladder can attest, I have a Real Problem with people who ReSpin the Corps Broken Record, especially now on the Eve of the Anniversary of their Crimes Against Humanity.

WateryHill said...

Thank you for continuing this important discussion - the tendency of the media to use "Katrina shorthand" and to fail to distinguish man made disaster from natural.

Btw, in eastern New Orleans the levees failed because in 90% of locations they were filled with erodible sand instead of clay (construction flaw) and melted after minimal overtopping. The MRGO was overtopped and quickly failed because it was not properly armored to withstand the wave action it got. Technically the MRGO levee is a dike.